A common injury to the shoulder is a Bankart tear or lesion. It occurs when the shoulder is dislocated and occurs in the lower part of the labrum, the cartilage rim around the edge of the glenoid, tears.
A Bankart procedure involves the reattachment and tightening the torn labrum and ligaments of the shoulder. After the procedure and rehabilitation are complete, a patient should feel complete relief and should be able to return to their normal activities without discomfort.
What Is a Bankart Tear and What Causes It?
The humeral head (ball of the shoulder joint) is centered in the glenoid (the socket of the joint), which stabilizes the shoulder. If the shoulder is dislocated, it can tear the glenoid labrum and ligaments. If the labrum doesn’t heal, the shoulder may continue to be unstable and continually dislocate.
During Bankart shoulder repair surgery, small incisions are made in the front and back of the shoulder. A small, fiber-optic camera and small instruments are used throughout the procedure. The area around the detached labrum is cleaned, removing any loose particles. Small holes are then drilled near the detached labrum and anchors that will hold sutures in place are placed in those holes.
The surgeon will attach the sutures to the labrum and pull them tightly across the anchors, so that the labrum can be reattached to the glenoid. the incisions can then be closed with small bandages.
Symptoms of a Bankart tear may include:
- Severe shoulder pain
- Repeated shoulder dislocations
- Repeated instances where the shoulders give out
- Sensation of the shoulder feeling loose, slipping out of the joint or “hanging there”
Who Is a Candidate for Bankart Repair Surgery?
Bankart repair surgery is often the most appropriate way to treat a Bankart tear. It is usually recommended for those who experience recurrent instability or feelings of unsteadiness after a traumatic shoulder dislocation. It may also be recommended if a rehabilitation program has failed to heal the tear or lessen pain.
What to Expect After Bankart Repair Surgery
After surgery, the shoulder may be immobilized with a sling. The first few days following surgery may be very painful. Once the sling is removed, a patient will go to physical therapy in order to improve range of motion and prevent scarring. How well a patient recovers varies on how diligently a patient practices their physical therapy exercises and on the overall health of a patient. For up to 12 weeks following the surgery, patients should not partake in more than gentle activities with the elbow at the side.
Following Bankart repair surgery, patients should feel relief from their pain and should be able to return to normal activities with no or minimal pain.